In case you missed it, the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has created a hitherto unknown category of hypothetical necessity called “climate resilience.” [bold, links added]
The law went so far as to prophylactically characterize government to spend money to “anticipate, prepare for, adapt to, withstand, respond to, or recover rapidly from disruptions” of weather events.
That nonsense phrase has opened the door to hundreds of billions of the $1.1 trillion bill going towards climate pork.
Politicians fully owned and operated by the climate lobby also know they can bury earmarks so deep that fiscal watchdogs never figure out how much climate resilience money was wasted or to whom it was sent.
Even if they did figure it out, it would be too late.
It takes some hard-core pavement pounding to discover exactly where this money is allowed to go under the auspices of the bill, but I’ve found a few items that should enrage those who care about fiscal responsibility.
- Subtitle D of The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is devoted to climate change, or so it claims. Section 11404 authorizes the creation of the Congestion Relief Program. The alleged goal is to reduce highway congestion and “economic and environmental costs related to [it],” optimize highway capacity, and beef up alternative transportation systems.
It contains a triple whammy for taxpayers. First, we are paying for all of this. Second, it will increase congestion for the individual car user. Third, it’s designed to raise revenue for local municipalities in the form of subsidies to create carpool and bus lanes.
Yet countless studies, such as this one from 2003, show that increased bus usage does not reduce congestion.
Transit consultant Jarrett Walker determined more than ten years ago that increased transit doesn’t do a darn thing to relieve congestion.
There are obvious reasons for this outcome. Widening roads to accommodate a bus or an HOV lane encourages additional traffic to join the newly widened road.
This inducement effect was discovered in the 1960s and finally codified in a 2009 paper from Gilles Duranton and Matthew A. Turner.
If an existing road isn’t widened, but an HOV or bus lane is added, it must accommodate an equal or greater number of people who used to travel by car in that lane to have any chance of reducing congestion.
This doesn’t occur to the extent necessary because vehicular disincentives don’t result in congestion change to those who simply cannot change their mode of transport. Removing a lane only makes it worse.
Duranton and Turner’s same paper concludes that total vehicle kilometers traveled in a given area are not affected by additions to public transit, and thus there is no effect on traffic levels.
The program’s funds allow for the creation of “systems that implement or enforce high occupancy vehicle toll lanes, cordon pricing, parking pricing, or congestion pricing.”
This includes granting Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg the authority to install toll booths on the interstate highway system.
In other words, the government is using our money to create a traffic “congestion relief” system that takes even more of our money.
Our tax dollars are distributed to states and municipalities, who redistribute that money to – guess who – unionized workers who “fix” the roads so that we can pay more to get to work and earn the money that is taxed back to the government.
This is all under the guise of “saving” the environment through reduced congestion. It also reveals the folly of the climate movement.
Climate alarmism isn’t just about handing out our money to serve a political goal that we don’t agree with. It subsidizes enforced behavioral change. You will be made to Go Green, comrade.
Just as with the Covid-19 hysteria, a high-level crisis is manufactured that has no basis in fact, no data to support it, and no logic behind its claims.
That crisis is utilized by the state to waste our money and enforce behavioral changes that restrict liberty.
- Climate change also acts as a cover for other leftist ideologies such as “racial and income inequity.” Consider Section 11406, which provides $500 million for the Healthy Streets Program. Imagine how much money gets funneled to special interests for a program designed to “mitigate urban heat islands and heat impacts to infrastructure and road users.”
Do you have any idea what urban heat islands are? I don’t. I had to look it up. National Geographic tells me an urban “heat island” is an urban area that is hotter than the rural areas surrounding it. No kidding.
There’s more energy expended in urban areas with all the people and cars and buses and buildings. When energy is expended, heat is released. Why is the government trying to change the laws of thermodynamics?
The reason for tilting at this windmill, as one reads the bill that nobody in Congress actually read, is that the money to relieve these “heat islands” (which of course can only be racist in origin) will be disproportionately spent in low-income and disadvantaged communities for the sake of racial and income equity.
The first stage of this brilliant plan to undo the universe’s natural laws is to “conduct a comprehensive tree canopy assessment” to inventory and catalog “location, species, condition, and health of existing tree canopies on public facilities.”
I haven’t yet discovered which special interest group lobbied for tree canopy assessments, but I applaud its ingenuity.
The maddening revelation about this ridiculous waste of money is that even the “climate change” alarmists admit the bill doesn’t help solve their imaginary problem.
Smart Growth America is one such organization, supported by a coalition of the like-minded. Its analysis stated that the bill fails to do anything to “fundamentally change the sources of the problem” and lacks the ambition necessary to do so.
There’s another irony here, in that billions have been earmarked for the creation of new roads, but climate alarmists don’t want new roads, because new roads mean more cars, which means more emissions.
That’s the inducement effect in action. This is always how it works. The government tries to solve one problem and creates new ones that make everyone angrier… and spend our money to do it.
Read more at The Pipeline
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